Only in India: Adventures of an International Educator
Author: Jill Dobbe
Published: August 2, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 27- December 4, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
“We’re moving to India!”
Travel along with two international educators who take the leap and move to Gurgaon, India, to become principals at an Indian/International school. Excited by the opulent marble hallways and the grandness of the school, they quickly learn it lacks even the most basic supplies, like chalkboard erasers. The couple, however, make a go of it and ultimately adjust to the dizzying day-to-day life of Indian society where sacred cows stop for red lights, women wear glittery saris while planting rice, and dreadlocked sadhus go about renouncing all their worldly pleasures.
Part memoir, part travelogue and part tragic comedy, readers will marvel at all the couple has to endure only to end up leaving the school and India abruptly, without even so much as a Namaste. Despite a catastrophe or two, their go-with-the-flow attitudes and kindred senses of humor help them to endure the overwhelming bustle of India, while recognizing and appreciating its distinctive allure.
I read Jill Dobbe’s previous memoir of living in Cairo, Egypt titled Kids, Camels, and Cairo several years ago. Having been to Egypt, her writing brought me right back to Cairo and those wonderful memories of my family trip I was on with my aunt, uncle, mother, and sister. That was to be my final trip with my uncle as he passed from lung cancer just two months later. Needless to say, I looked forward to reading Only in India and taking a trip without ever having left the house!
Jill and her husband left Cairo and then India was their next destination in their teaching adventures. India is not on my bucket list, but I have seen Bollywood movies, movies in general, and tv shows taking place in India and enjoy all the colors that are present. I honestly do not know much about India, but reading Dobbe’s memoir I definitely learned about the country, culture, religions, and history. I now definitely want to see the movie Gandhi that stars Sir Ben Kingsley, it is sad to say that this ignorant American did not know about the circumstances of his death.
The memoir actually starts at the end of their time in India when she and her husband had to suddenly leave due to visa issues. As I read of her time in India, I enjoyed going on her journey of remembrance with her, as I ‘experienced’ India for the first time. There are definitely huge culture differences and she shows us the culture shock experienced by her and her husband.
It is written similar to a diary, so the memoir is honest and full of their experiences, good and bad while also seeing how the Dobbe’s react to certain situations. They are presently living in Honduras, so I look forward to a memoir that takes place there, so I can journey to another country I have never been to!
I have had this memoir on my kindle for a few years, but just now picked it up. I read it as a part of #Diverseathon2021, and this month’s prompt is a book set in India. December’s Host is Natalie @ One Sleepy Reader and she is hosting at Instagram and You Tube. She is also be having a giveaway: See her You Tube and Instagram pages for information on the giveaway.
If you are interested in travel memoirs or teaching in foreign countries, I definitely recommend looking into Dobbe’s books. I wish it had not taken me this long to read Only in India, but there are so many books and not enough time! She has one more memoir written that I find myself wanting to read!
Only in India: Adventures of an International Educator is recommended!